Biology Bulletin

, Volume 40, Issue 9, pp 790–796 | Cite as

Dependence of killer whale (Orcinus orca) acoustic signals on the type of activity and social context

  • O. A. Filatova
  • M. A. Guzeev
  • I. D. Fedutin
  • A. M. Burdin
  • E. Hoyt


We investigated the influence of the type of activity and the social context on the proportion of four different structural categories of stereotyped calls in the acoustic communication of Kamchatkan killer whales. Using generalized linear models, we described the dependence of each sound category on the type of activity, the number of killer whale pods and the presence of mixed-pod groups. We found that the proportion of different sound categories depended on the number of pods and the presence of mixed-pod groups, while the type of activity did not affect the proportion of sounds of different categories. Based on the observed differences we suggest that biphonic and high-frequency monophonic calls are mainly used as family and pod markers, and help to track the position of family members at long ranges, and low-frequency monophonic calls are used as close-range intra-group signals to maintain contact between pod members in the conditions of limited underwater visibility.


killer whale Orcinus orca behaviour acoustic communication 


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Inc. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. A. Filatova
    • 1
  • M. A. Guzeev
    • 2
  • I. D. Fedutin
    • 1
  • A. M. Burdin
    • 3
  • E. Hoyt
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of BiologyMoscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Faculty of Biology and Soil SciencesSt. Petersburg State UniversitySt. PetersburgRussia
  3. 3.Kamchatka Branch of Pacific Institute of Geography, Far East BranchRussian Academy of SciencesPetropavlovsk-KamchatskyRussia
  4. 4.Whale and Dolphin Conservation SocietyMorayScotland

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